South Australia is home to beautiful rangelands and mountainous terrain, long summers and diverse outdoor activities. It was made for the outdoor lover, what with all the wonderful beaches, scenic attractions, festivals, events and much more.
In fact, the hardest part of living in South Australia is deciding which outdoor activities to choose next. That’s what this article attempts to do…to filter the best outdoor experiences possible.
Fun fact: South Australia is the only state that borders all the other mainland states.
In the previous two guides in this series, Tasmania and Western Australia, we started big and worked our way back to their respective cities. This time, we thought we’d change it up. After all, we value Adelaide and we’re not surprised it keeps getting voted among the world’s most liveable cities.
Within Adelaide’s vibrant, cultural precinct, you’ll find the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library side-by-side. By all means, check them out. They’re rich and wonderful buildings with equally rich, wonderful collections inside.
However, since this has an outdoor-oriented focus, we won’t dilly dally. Instead, a short walk up the road will bring you to the Botanical Gardens and the Adelaide Zoo, both great attractions.
The zoo hosts 1,800 animals and 300 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Its most famous residents are Wang Wang and Funi, Australia’s only giant pandas. In fact, they’re the only giant pandas in the southern hemisphere!
If zoos and gardens aren’t your thing, simply walk the other way – south – and you’ll pass through Rundle Mall, Australia’s first pedestrian street mall with over 1000 stores, before reaching Adelaide Central Market. Here you’ll find the largest undercover market in the southern hemisphere, buzzing with life and colour.
No South Australian outdoor guide would be complete without mentioning Kangaroo Island. A sanctuary for many of Australia’s favourite native animals, ‘KI’ as the locals call it will rejuvenate the soul and bring you closer to nature.
Kangaroo Island prides itself on being a wildlife sanctuary due to its isolation and it being spared from introduced species like foxes and rabbits, allowing existing bird and animal species to flourish. One third of the island is preserved in conservation and national parks.
All these facts make Kangaroo Island the idyllic paradise we’ve come to know and love. With pristine beaches, gourmet food and wine and luxury accommodation to boot, you’ll love everything about it.
There’s one thing in particular that makes the Barossa region magical: the wine. If you’re familiar with wine, you’ll no doubt be familiar with its lovely Shiraz and Cabernet varieties; this is mostly down to the climate – cool summers and rainy winters.
The surrounding hills and valleys look like a French impressionist painting, Cezanne or Seurat level beauty, and create an air of magic and majesty. You’ll enjoy the simple pleasures here; a long, lingering lunch, shared stories, camaraderie and festivities.
Simply get out there and sample all the local produce, the artisan cheeses and charcuterie meats, the virgin olive oils and of course the wine itself. There are even a handful of cooking classes on offer.
Flinders Ranges and the Outback
For a change of scene, literally, head north. Before long, the vast beginning of the outback will reveal itself to you and you’ll find yourself steeped in ancient, unique history.
Wondrous colours, layers and textures will engulf you as you venture through the ranges, leaving you awestruck at the sheer magnitude. And make sure you check out the giant, natural amphitheatre called Wilpena Pound.
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. After all, it’s a 540-million-old landscape and only about a four hours drive from Adelaide.
The Murray River
From its humble origins within the Snowy Mountains in NSW, the Murray River traverses through 2500km before flowing out into the Southern Ocean.
There are so many ways to experience the Murray River and so many parts to explore, as the Coorong stretches 130 kilometres along South Australia’s south-east coast.
We recommend visiting the Coorong National Park, which is home to some of Australia’s most beautiful birds (more than 240 species migrate there each year), as well as breath-taking wetlands and sweeping sand dunes. This is the ultimate place to fish, hike, camp and birdwatch.
Coorong is also a great choice because the park can be explored by many different, interesting methods, such as a houseboat or kayak, both of which are great and offer a new perspective.
These five outdoor activities are amongst the best experiences South Australia has to offer. But naturally, once you’ve been and done these amazing things, you’ll want to kick back and relax in your own outdoor space.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Living in South Australia. Click on the image bellow for your free download!